The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has praised the transformation of a Victorian villa in Tameside which is now providing new homes for people starting a life away from the streets, in hostels or in care.
The Mayor visited the site to meet the first tenants to move into the property, which has been converted into 13 flats for people facing homelessness.
Homelessness charity Stepping Stone Projects and social enterprise Cornerstone Place joined forces in summer 2021 to acquire the villa and are working with Tameside Council and Ashton Pioneer Homes on the project.
The government’s Everyone In scheme saw councils across Greater Manchester provide emergency hotel accommodation for everyone who needed a bed during the pandemic.
Now, the partners are keen to build on that support and create new pathways and housing options that will eventually see people move on into more permanent accommodation.
Stepping Stone Projects and Cornerstone Place have developed the scheme using a pioneering Shared Upside funding model. The approach transfers 50% of the property ownership to the charity over a five-year period at no cost to them, while giving homes to people now.
If successful, the model could be used to deliver more temporary accommodation and offer a vital first step to people moving into permanent homes.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “We’ve seen through ground-breaking programmes like A Bed Every Night and Housing First that providing people experiencing homelessness with access to safe, high-quality accommodation is absolutely critical to our mission to end rough sleeping.
“Having a place to call your own is vital for good health and wellbeing, and it can be incredibly hard to access the support you need to recover from the impact of homelessness without it.
“It was great to visit Stamford Villa and hear about the fantastic partnership working that made it happen, and to see first-hand the excellent quality of accommodation and support on offer.
“Projects like this go to show that a coalition of councils, charities, providers and social enterprises like Cornerstone Place can find new, creative ways to provide homes, relieve pressure across the system, and create safe, tailored spaces for people to move on from homelessness for good.”
Dave Smith, chief executive of Stepping Stone Projects, said: “The project will provide vital support services to those most in need, giving them the chance to learn new skills and ultimately live a more stable and happy life.
“The progressive, privately funded model has brought a beautiful building back into use for the benefit of people in Tameside, and we are excited to see the difference it’s going to make to people’s lives. It’s great to have the Mayor of Greater Manchester visit the homes and see the difference they are already making.”
Cornerstone Place co-founder David Ball said: “We need a combination of innovation and determination to address the homelessness challenge.
“All stakeholders have worked hard to bring this project to life, and we are pleased that our unique Shared Upsides funding and ownership model underpins it. We look forward to continuing to work with Stepping Stone Projects and Ashton Pioneer Homes on future initiatives.”